‘Shawn Camp: The Sum of All Parts’
The artist's impasto paintings transport one beyond the terrestrial
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Oct. 21, 2011
'Shawn Camp: The Sum of All Parts'Gallery Shoal Creek, 2905 San Gabriel #101, 454-6671
Through Nov. 5
Shawn Camp's solo show at Gallery Shoal Creek is called "The Sum of All Parts," and you'd be well compensated if you journeyed from all parts to see some of these works. What did we say last year, reviewing Camp's work as part of the Telos exhibition at the Butridge Gallery? "[I]mmense oil paintings, abstracts with a thickness of colors like high aerial photography of barren earth ... riddled with meandering ribbons of metallic paint like braids of glass, like glades of brass."
Yes, like aerial photography, we said; but of a barren Earth rendered with a depth and density that also brings to mind what we know of the atmosphere of Jupiter. Mostly what we know of that is the color palette, of course, and you'll see such colors – stunning reds, algal shades of green, whites and grays mixed like some matte mother-of-pearl in a depressive phase – gone approximately two-dimensional and gracing the tony walls of Shoal Creek. Only approximately two-dimensional, yes, because Camp's technique here (and his usual technique) is what the scholars call impasto: thick smears of paint, of pigment, applied with a palette knife or maybe God's Own Trowel, covering canvas the way the eerier bits of Yellowstone cover the part of tectonic plate on which that national park resides.
But, then, are the artist's works more redolent of this planet's geology or of Jupiter's thick gasses or of, maybe, what? The shifting sands of Barsoom? The dromozoan-swarmed landscapes of Shayol? Listen: They're "The Sum of All Parts," abstract and beautiful, and you don't need anything but terrestrial transportation to reach them.